New York Times bestselling author Jane Feather conspires with history to tell this dazzling story about two very real, very wily queens - and one impassioned young woman whose life they change forever.
At Queen Elizabeth's palace, intrigue abounds. And when a naive girl with a gift for keen observation enters the court, she can hardly imagine the role she will play in bringing England - indeed, the whole of Europe - to the brink of war. Nor can she foresee her own journey to the brink of ecstasy and beyond...
When she becomes a junior lady of Queen Elizabeth's bedchamber, Rosamund is instructed by her cousin, the brilliant and devious secretary of state Sir Francis Walsingham, to record everything she observes. Her promised reward: a chance at a good marriage. And then Rosamund meets Will Creighton - a persuasive courtier, poet, and would-be playwright who is the embodiment of an unsuitable match.
The unsanctioned relationship draws the wrath of Elizabeth, and Rosamund is sent in disgrace to a remote castle that holds Elizabeth's cousin Mary Stuart, the imprisoned Queen of Scots. Here, Walsingham expects Rosamund to uncover proof of a plot against Elizabeth. But surely, nothing good can come of putting an artless girl in such close proximity to so many seductive players and deceptive games. Unless, of course, Rosamund can discover an affinity for passion and intrigue herself...
For more of Jane Feather's signature romance check out the Blackwater Brides Trilogy - where three dashing brothers embark on a most im-proper quest - or follow the adventures to three intrepid young ladies as they become embroiled in the political intrigue of Regency-era London and fall irreversibly in love in the Cavendish Square Trilogy.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Jane Feather’s heroine, Rosamund Walsingham, is a fictional character caught up in the lavish and perilous world of Queen Elizabeth I’s royal court. When Rosamund is taken under the wing of her cousin, Sir Francis Walsingham—also known as “the spymaster”—she soon gets caught up in the sort of racy, dastardly and utterly compelling dramas that all great historical fiction is rooted in. Feather is a master of skilfully weaving great figures from history into her work—her portrayal of playwright Christopher Marlowe is especially rewarding.
Rosamund Walsingham is from a lesser branch of the Walsingham family, with no real fortune or prospects until she catches the eye of her influential cousin, Francis Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth's spymaster and secretary of state. He sends the beautiful young woman to court to act as his eyes and ears, a task she performs well until she gets involved in an ill-advised liaison with fellow courtier, William Creighton, who has similarly dim prospects. Disgraced, Rosamund is sent to spy on Elizabeth's sister, the imprisoned Catholic queen Mary, but soon discovers that the cost of these political games is greater than she could have anticipated. Accomplished romance author Feather (A Husband's Wicked Ways) delivers another reliably steady historical, but sidesteps the most provocative opportunities of her Elizabethan court setting in favor of a fairly tame tale. Rosamund is too typical a heroine, while Feather's most interesting characters-the historical figures of Francis and Christopher Marlowe-are relegated to sideline roles. Fans of historical romances should probably skip this in favor of a Tudor tale with more heat.
A thoroughly enjoyable read, with a good mix of fact and fiction. So well written and very descriptive, so much so that you are immersed in the sights and sounds of that era, as well as graphic details of the appalling results if you were found guilty of treason.